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Are creditors constantly calling you and sending you threatening letters? Are they even harassing you at work? If you’re in some hot water over your financial debt obligations due to high interest rates and your income isn’t enough to payback the amount of debt you owe, you may be thinking that declaring bankruptcy is the only way out. However, there may be other options whereby you can avoid the bankruptcy process and to finally get out from under your heavy debt. Many people are using debt negotiation as a good strategy to pay down their debt and steer clear of filing bankruptcy.
Debt Negotiation 101
Debt negotiation takes a different approach to decreasing and ultimately eliminating your financial debt. Essentially, debt negotiation takes place between yourself and the financial lender in order to reach a mutual agreement regarding the terms or the necessary amount to settle your debt. Even thought the financial lender is experienced at negotiating debt and you’re probably not, it’s still an effective way to use the services of seasoned debt negotiators.
Typically, negotiated debt is usually paid off as one lump sum, which is very enticing and a good reason for creditors to be open-minded and flexible with you. The end result of debt negotiation usually involves removing your debt obligation by compromising on a certain amount that’s less than what you originally owe overall.
How Debt Negotiation Works
The only way that debt negotiation can actually work is if the creditor is willing to negotiate with you and settle for a smaller amount than what you owe, which will result in saving you money. Even though the negotiation process is fairly straightforward, there could be a number of stages you’ll need to go through before a settlement is actually reached.
Debt negotiation experts are highly skilled at negotiating with even the toughest creditors since there’s no emotion when making a decision. They are quite familiar with how the process works as well as how lenders think in order to achieve a good outcome on your behalf. A skilled debt negotiator can usually help you reach your goals since the creditor understands that the negotiator is a pro at ensuring both good results and payouts for the consumer.
Quite often, a debt collector wants to settle the account the same as you, which is why they usually agree to letting you pay less for the entire amount owed. Even though debt settlement or negotiation shows up as a negative mark on your credit report, the negotiation itself shows that you took the necessary responsibility for paying some portion of the original debt. Therefore, your credit report will positively show that your debt is no longer outstanding and taken care of.
Ways to Approach Debt Negotiation with a Debt Collector
1. Review Your Budget
What can you afford to pay on this loan? Don’t be bullied into paying more than what you can actually afford. Once you determine how much cash you can give the creditor without sending your budget into a tailspin, start your negotiations by offering the creditor less.
NOTE: Never provide sensitive information to a debt collector, including any bank account numbers, your Social Security number, or where you work.
2. Remove Negative Information
Request that the debt collector removes any negative data from your credit records that are associated with the settled debt that may have been added to your credit records since the debt in question was turned over to them.
NOTE: The debt collector can’t legally eliminate any negative data concerning your financial debt that was subsequently added to your files when your financial debt was still in the hands of the creditor.
Check your credit history to ensure that all the negative data was completely removed.
3. Put Your Agreement in Writing
Ensure that all the details surrounding your agreement is in writing prior to giving the collector the agreed upon sum. Also, it’s a good idea to hire a reputable law attorney in order to review the agreement as well.
Your final agreement should state the following:
• The amount both you and creditor agreed you should pay.
• Whether or not the amount will be paid over time or in a lump sum.
• The date(s) of when the payments or lump sum is due.
• How the payment(s) will be made, such as a cashier’s check or through an EBT (electronic bank transfer). It’s not advised to use a personal check to pay off a debt collector.
• Ensure that the debt collector agrees to submit the report to the three main credit bureaus once the debt is paid-in-full.
• List any concessions that the collector may have agreed to.
• List any conditions and/or consequences that may breach the final agreement.
• Unless you fully understand and agree to the terms of the agreement, don’t sign your name. Once you sign it, it’s a done deal. Be sure to get a copy and store it in a safe place at home.
Consider using a reputable NYC Bankruptcy Law Firm to help you with your debt negotiation or to discuss other options as well.